The Power Within: How Individual Interest Promotes Domain-Relevant Task Engagement

  • Amanda M. DurikEmail author
  • Meghan Huntoon Lindeman
  • Sarah L. Coley


Individual interest is a relatively enduring motivation to acquire knowledge and experience within a particular domain for the purpose of having that knowledge and experience. As such, the decision to select tasks within a domain of individual interest is essential to its nature. This chapter lays out a theoretical causal model that attempts to explain how the components of individual interest—stored knowledge and stored value—put into motion other key processes that lead to the selection of domain-relevant tasks. These key processes have been developed in somewhat diverse research traditions, and they include desired possible selves, mastery goals, implicit and explicit goal schemas, and level of construal, among others. All of these processes focus on how experiences with the domain contribute to the developing self-concept. Moreover, once task engagement begins, these key processes can also support task engagement in the moment because they promote individuals’ willingness and ability to care about doing well, perceive themselves as sufficiently competent, and become absorbed in the task. Finally, we speculate about how memories of past task engagement contribute to the recognition of a domain of individual interest as a feature of the self.


Individual interest Situational interest Intrinsic motivation Task value Self-concept Possible self Goal Purpose goal Target goal Stored knowledge Stored value Self-concept of ability Mastery goal Competence valuation Perceived competence Task involvement Intrinsic value Utility value Attainment value Cost Growth mindset Curiosity Knowledge gap 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amanda M. Durik
    • 1
    Email author
  • Meghan Huntoon Lindeman
    • 1
  • Sarah L. Coley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNorthern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA

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